FEBRUARY 28 2012 16:29h

Sudan minister survives helicopter crash

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AL-QADARIF, Sudan, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Sudanese Minister of Agriculture Abdel Halim al-Mutafi emerged from a helicopter crash virtually unscathed, officials said.

The crash killed three others when the Mi-7 helicopter caught fire during take off in the eastern state of al-Qadarif Monday. The helicopter was carrying al-Mutafi, along with six aides and two Iranian investigators, on a trip to investigate agricultural projects in the area.

Those who survived did so by breaking the helicopter windows, however, Mutafi's director of agricultural research, his spokesman and an engineer working for the helicopter company were killed.

The Sudan Tribune reported two bodies were completely burned in the wreckage while one was taken to Khartoum. Investigations are under way into the cause of the accident.